Messages to wounded WW1 Kiwi soldiers found in attic

New Zealand soldier and PM

William Ferguson Massey, Prime Minister of New Zealand, meets a convalescent soldier at the Mount Felix hospital

A banner embroidered with messages from home to recovering New Zealand soldiers has been found in an attic at Walton-on-Thames.

The town was the site of the Mount Felix military hospital where Kiwi soldiers recovered from wounds received at Gallipoli.

Wounded at Gallipoli

New Zealand High Commissioner Lockwood Smith said: ‘ Some 27,000 New Zealand troops were treated here, and of course some died here, and in the cemetery in this churchyard I think there are 21 young New Zealand soldiers.’

The Kiwi influence endures at Walton-on-Thames – the town has a New Zealand Street, and a pub called The Wellington – said to be named after the New Zealand capital rather than the victor of Waterloo.

On display

It’s known that the banner was stitched in the South Island town of Stirling near Balclutha.

Added Smith: ‘The banner is something that we’ll try and find out more about and there may be families who may have some recollection of what was behind it all.’

It will be put on display at New Zealand House in London prior to the Gallipoli centenary.

For more about the New Zealanders at Mount Felix hospital, click here.

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